Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!


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What I’ve Been Making Lately

I think it’s high time for an update on what I’ve been working on outside the realm of Thread Theory lately!  I’ve been a bit quiet on this front for the last year because Matt and I were foster parents from August until the end of this June…this took up every ounce of energy we had and so we pared our lives down to Thread Theory and caring for the children exclusively.  Fostering also required that we keep our family life very private for the confidentiality of the children, hence why I haven’t mentioned this phase of our lives on the blog yet.

Now that the children have moved on to more permanent situations, we are delving into making things in a big way!  The biggest project I have in the works is this:

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Our baby boy, due on October 10th!

Thus, my sewing projects in the last couple of weeks have been much smaller and cuter than what you might usually see on my sewing table.

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Perhaps you recognise some of these fabrics from our shop in the past…what a great way to use up off cuts!  The patterns I’ve used for this cute little wardrobe are as follows:

Booties: Twig & Tale Animal Baby Shoes.  I highly recommend this pattern, it was so much fun to sew and the instructions were impeccably detailed.

Pants: Sew 4 Bub Grow With Me Pants. A free pattern!

Hats: How Does She? Knot Hard At All Hat.  An easy tutorial.

Scratch Mittens: 5 Little Monsters No Scratch Baby Mittens.  Another great tutorial.

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Menswear sewing will recommence shortly since Matt really needs a new pair of shorts this summer.  I also hope to finish a fresh Goldstream Peacoat for him to wear this winter.  I’ve been sewing it very slowly and photographing the steps as I go to create a Goldstream Sew-along to launch this fall.

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Valentine’s Sale – 25% off PDFs

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Did you receive our newsletter last week with our Valentine’s Sale discount code?  Receive 25% off our PDF patterns until Feb. 14th when you use the code SEWFORLOVE.

Thank you for leaving over 100 comments on my last blog post about our upcoming pyjama pant pattern.  Your preferences included all of the options that I listed so I’ve decided to include variations for no fly, a mock fly and a button fly so as to please everyone!  After all, as many of you pointed out, what is stopping me from including them all?  I think that’s a good point because this will allow sewists to start with this pattern as their first garment project (by sewing the no fly variation) but then re-use the pattern over and over as they develop their skills (by progressing to the mock fly and finally the button fly).

And, to calm the fears of those who worried – there will be no zipper on the fly of these PJ pants!  That would be a tad strange!  The fly will be a single button fly as is commonly seen on sleepwear.

Since completing the first sample for our pyjama pant pattern I have sewn three more garments to determine the fit for our other upcoming patterns!  I’ve been at my machine sewing for hours every work day this week and it has been such a nice change from my usual work on the computer.  Here is a little peek at some of my work:

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Next week I will sew up the final (5th) design and then the patterns will be tweaked and graded.  Then it is back to the computer with a vengeance to develop the instruction booklets!

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Anyhow, thanks for your interest in our upcoming patterns and for your feedback about the pyjama pants!  I hope you enjoy our SEWFORLOVE sale and make something that your loved one wears proudly this Valentine’s Day.


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Behind the Scenes: 2017 recap and looking forward

2018 has just begun and it’s time for Matt and I to look back on our last year and look forward to the next!  This post is a summary of Thread Theory developments in 2017 and a little glimpse at what we have planned pattern-wise for the coming months.

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January 2017

Last January we held a Lazo Hack Contest for our freshly launched women’s trouser pattern.  I really enjoyed seeing your Lazo sewing plans popping up on social media and still wear the cozy lounge pants that I created as my contribution to the contest.  You can view the Lazo Lounge Pant tutorial here.

Our Lazo Trousers were launched to celebrate Thread Theory’s 5th birthday.  A portion of their proceeds has been donated to a Vancouver Island organisation that is close to my heart: Help Fill A Dream.  You can read all about this organisation in the Lazo Trouser pattern description.  In 2017 we donated $1278.  Thank you so very much for making this possible!

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February 2017

February 2017 was when we began the idea of stocking vintage menswear sewing patterns in our shop.  We also launched a variety of new tools and held a knitting supply sale.

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March 2017

In March we put out the call for pattern testers for our Belvedere Waistcoat pattern.  We were inundated with generous offers by sewists eager to volunteer their time!

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April 2017

April saw the launch of our Spring Capsule Collection of bamboo knits and hemp fabrics.  We also launched the first collection of vintage sewing patterns that blog readers world-wide sold or donated to our shop.

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May 2017

May was a pattern release month!  We launched the Belvedere Waistcoat and promptly hosted a sew-along so you would be ready for Father’s Day gift giving.  I loved the photoshoot that we did with my family at our local pub.

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June 2017

In June our focus was increasing our menswear pattern collection – we added more vintage menswear patterns and also began stocking Jalie, Kwik Sew, Burda and Vogue designs.

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July 2017

In July we introduced our wonderful new team member, Jaymee!  I don’t know what we would have done without her diligent work responding to emails, working with wholesale clients and posting on social media over the last half year.  I look forward to growing her role on the Thread Theory team in 2018.  July also saw the release of our summer fabric collection of breezy and environmentally conscious staples.

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August 2017

In August we held our first remnant sale to make way for our upcoming Fall fabrics.  Most remnant items were sold out within 24 hours!  It was nice to see that these small cuts of fabric would not be going to waste.  I also launched some visible mending supplies and showed you the summer mending I had done using Sashiko stitching.

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September 2017

September was a little quiet on the blog as we focused on our family but I managed to share a few interesting posts including a video tour of our tissue patterns and a video introducing an inspiring sustainable menswear designer.  We also held a sale on our Jutland Pants pattern.

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October 2017

We released some cozy winter sweater fabrics in October and added the option to order swatches in our fabric shop.  We also launched four new French translations for our patterns that can be downloaded for free.  Our entire line of garment patterns could now be accessed in both English and French.

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November 2017

November was another pattern launch month!  This time we added 3 mini patterns to our shop – the Elastic Wallet, the Card Wallet and the Bifold Wallet.  We also offered these as a kit of three patterns at a discounted price.  Then, to add to the excitement, these new patterns, along with the rest of our PDF patterns went on sale for 50% off near the end of November!  I hope that there were many lovingly sewn wallets under your Christmas trees this winter.

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December 2017

The last month of the year included a pre-Christmas photographed tutorial to accompany our Bifold Wallet pattern and a small launch of Merchant & Mills goodies.  We wound up the year a little bit quiet on the blog with a wish of Merry Christmas and a small inventory clear out sale (which is still going on in our sale section).  Now we have empty shelves and refreshed minds, ready to face 2018 with high hopes!

What will 2018 bring?

This year we will be focusing on pattern development!  We currently have five garment patterns under construction.  These five patterns will include a greatly expanded size range (up to 4XL for tops and size 50 for bottoms) to accommodate the many requests we receive by email and on the blog.

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Here are a few fun hints about each new pattern (hopefully without giving too much away!):

  1. The most complicated and intricate of the garment designs will be part of our Alpine Adventure Menswear Collection…and we are drafting two separate versions of this one, one for men and one for women!
  2. One of the bottoms will be the perfect pattern for beginners to try.  I designed this one with sewing instructors in mind.
  3. Two of the bottoms will fill a big void as far as menswear sewing patterns go.  One of the designs will be part of our Parkland Collection and the other will be part of our Cityscape Collection.  Both will include in depth information on finishing details as you might expect of all of our patterns…we want the results to wear as well or better than store-bought!
  4. The last design will be a nice quick sew and is something that many people have emailed us to request.  There will be two variations that can be used to easily replace a large variety of garments in the menswear wardrobe.

While our focus will be on new pattern releases this year, you can still expect to find a nicely stocked and curated selection of menswear supplies in our shop.  Very shortly we will be receiving a huge order from England so expect to see some exciting new Merchant & Mills patterns, kits and tools coming out soon!

What would you like to see on the blog and in our shop this year?


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Call for pattern testers! (Closed: 21/03/17)

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Update 21/03/17: Thank you for such an enthusiastic response to this call for testers!  The testers have all been selected now (from hundreds of responses!) and I look forward to hearing their feedback.  The details that you sent in your blog comments and emails were extremely helpful to me.  I can’t wait to share the finished pattern with you!

Yes, we have a new pattern coming this Spring!  The third draft of the instructions will be sent off to our graphic designer this afternoon so I am ready to hear your feedback.

I haven’t been keeping our upcoming pattern a secret from you and have mentioned it several times on the blog.

Usually I strive to keep upcoming designs a secret simply for the fun of it!  Many other pattern companies do this and I think it adds a sense of fun and excitement to impending pattern releases for both the pattern designer and the eager sewists.  The menswear patterns I am trying to develop for Thread Theory are a bit different though; our patterns are predominantly classic designs that can be used as building blocks for any men’s wardrobe.  I don’t try to create garment designs that are innovative or unique, instead, my main goal is to create a comprehensive collection of well fitting staples that use quality construction techniques.

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So…if I think about my aims, it seems a bit silly to keep my designs a secret!  Instead, I could be sharing them with all of you as I create the pattern to receive as much feedback as possible!  When I did this with our Fairfield Button-up pattern I was beyond thrilled with the feedback that you guys generously gave me.  I tallied up all of your blog comments and was surprised to discover that many of you preferred the option for darts on a men’s shirt pattern.  This is not a common feature on most menswear shirts where I live and so I likely would have left the pleated back as the only option…thanks to your feedback, Variation 2 of the Fairfield featuring back darts was born and has since been a favourite style for Matt and for many of you!

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Our impending spring pattern release is a classic men’s waistcoat pattern.  This is an important garment to add to our pattern line for several reasons:  It is a key layering piece for formal outfits (and I think the more men need to realise how comfortable and versatile a vest is for both casual and formal outfits!).  It is an approachable and very satisfying ‘first piece of menswear’ for novice sewists.  It is quick and profitable to sew – you can create a whole bridal party worth of vests with only a small investment of time and fabric.  It is an excellent introduction to tailoring before you launch into larger projects such as a suit jacket or coat.

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Waistcoats + Summer Weddings = ideal combo.  Photos from this Pinterest board.

With those characteristics in mind, I’ve designed our waistcoat pattern to include two variations – one for novice sewists and one for sewists who would like to try their hand at more involved techniques.

I am looking for test sewers to try out my pattern and instructions that fall in to both those categories.  Please comment on this post or email me at info@threadtheory.ca if you match either of these categories:

  1. You are fairly new to sewing and have not sewn a lined garment before.  You are opinionated about menswear styles and would like to give me feedback on both the instructions (are they intimidating, easy to understand, too detailed, not detailed enough?) and the style of the vest.
  2. You are experienced sewing waistcoats.  You have tried at least one waistcoat sewing pattern in the past and are willing to give me your opinion on the construction techniques that I have used.  You would be willing to have a look at some of the resources I have been referring to as I write the instructions and discuss the nitty gritty of order of construction, understitching, the size of the lining in relation to the main garment and that sort of thing.  I am looking for some very particular feedback that I will discuss with you over email!

I value tester feedback highly and appreciate that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part!  Please, only volunteer if this is something that you enjoy doing and would like to spend time chatting with me over the next three to four weeks!  There is no need to have a blog or any form of social media and you do not need to sew a presentable final garment if you do not want to (but I would prefer if you follow all of the steps, from understitching to adding buttons, even if it is just in scrap fabric).

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Waistcoats – useful for all seasons and styles!  Photos from this Pinterest board.

If you don’t want to test sew but still have an opinion about waistcoats (be it construction or styling), comment on this post!  Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  1. Have or would you sew a vest?
  2. How many pockets do you like? None, 2, 3, 4?
  3. How many buttons do you like?
  4. Do you prefer vests with a back panel made from lining fabric or from the main wool fabric?
  5. A vest worn without a suit jacket…yay or nay?
  6. What do you call them: Waistcoats or vests?

 


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Merry Christmas from my Mom and I (in our Lazo Trousers)!

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Merry Christmas!  I hope that the next few days find you surrounded by loved ones and in good health.  I am about to begin my holidays (I will be back to blogging in the first week of January) so I wanted to sign off with a fun ‘editorial’ style shoot of my Mom and I decked out for Christmas in Lazo Trousers.

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The purpose of the shoot isn’t to show you the trouser design details (since I have been overwhelming you with posts about the particulars of the pattern!).  These photos are meant to give you a glimpse of the Lazos in action!  We both chose to style our Lazos the way we would wear them to Christmas dinner.  My mom’s pair is made out of a synthetic fabric that was terrible to work with (loads of static and it frayed like crazy!).  I like how it has a bit of body though and does not wrinkle easily…it also doesn’t press easily :S.  My pair are made out of the beautiful tencel I was telling you about from Blackbird Fabrics.  They are VERY comfortable but perhaps turned out a bit big because my weight has been fluctuating lately and I thought I was ready to size up (only to fluctuate back down by the time the trousers were finished).  I am usually a size 2 but sewed a size 4 this time.  As a result, they sit about 1-2″ lower on my waist than intended and perhaps look quite casual because of this.

lazo-trousers-for-christmas-10I paired my Lazos with a cozy angora sweater and, as per normal, tucked my sweater in.  I like to emphasise my waist (and wear heels) when dressing up because doing so makes my legs feel a bit longer.  My Mom wore a flowing silk blouse and vest over her Lazos because she never tucks her blouses in.  I think the tapered legs pair nicely with a loose top and long vest.

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My Dad and my parent’s dog, Jake, joined us for the photo shoot (and Matt was behind the camera, of course).  It ended up being a bit of a family portrait session!  We can’t help ourselves at Christmas: We hammed it up and embraced the cheesiness by attempting to create a continuous loop of Christmas crackers.  Jake was trying to help:

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It was difficult, but in the end, we managed 😛  You might notice my Dad is wearing his buffalo check Fairfield shirt…he reports that he wears it very often.  In fact, he wears a t-shirt under it so that he doesn’t have to put it in the wash daily and thus can wear it more!  So there you go – we are a family of red handmade clothing this Christmas (unintentionally matchy-matchy but I kind of like it!).

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I’ll leave you with one last photo to round off 2016…Jake!

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Happy holidays!  May the new year bring many great projects for you (and us!).  Thank you for giving us such a stable, fruitful, and connected year!  We look forward to many more like it.


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Studio Tour

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My parents and grandparents were over for a family dinner last weekend (my Mom’s birthday).  After dinner everyone gathered in my studio to have a peek at some of the projects I’ve been working on.  It had been a while since they had been in my studio, and, since we only moved in to our home 5 months ago it had changed greatly since their last inspection!  After checking out all of the customising I have done, my dad said it was high time for a studio photo shoot to share my space with you on the blog.  So here it is!

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My studio space is really the reason we decided to buy the house (Matt and I joke when we say this but it is at least partially true).  It is a nicely converted garage with gabled ceilings, two huge windows and LOADS of lighting options.

When we first moved in, Matt’s mom and dad devoted a weekend of their time to paint the studio with us.  Matt’s mom was still painting the trim when Matt, his Dad, and I enthusiastically moved everything in to the room.  I was eager to start using my space!

Since then I’ve slowly puttered away at adding functional details to the room…my latest small additions are three hooks on the wall for my scissors:

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I set up my sewing machines in front of the window so that I have the best natural light (and a view of the kids playing on the cul de sac) while I sew.

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My most used work area is my big oak desk.  It is a beat up old provincial government desk that Matt and I purchased when we lived in Victoria and have lugged along with every move since!  It’s a bit of a beast but I really love having such a huge work surface (it is usually covered with all sorts of paperwork).

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My seat cushion features a lovely little bit of embroidery that I made using one of my friend Sarah’s gorgeous bug themed embroidery patterns.  She just released a bunch of Christmas themed embroidery patterns that would make gorgeous ornaments and a great project to work on while sitting by the fire.  She also has a vintage sewing machine pattern – I definitely need to add that one to my studio decor.

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All of the smaller items that I stock in the shop are sorted on large barn-wood shelves throughout the studio.

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The barn wood is salvaged from an old horse stall that we pulled down while house sitting last year.  The building was no longer structurally sound but, once dried out, some of the wood was in decent shape.

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It’s pretty tough to find such wide, long and beautiful solid wood boards these days!  I feel lucky to have these.  They are very practical for me (I like open storage) and they are full of character.

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I’ve affixed my most used bobbins to the underside of one of the shelves using a couple of magnetic strips.  They are directly above my thread rack so it is easy to keep track of matching colors.

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My yarn is stored in three massive baskets that I sewed using the canvas, strapping and screen prints that we include in our Carry-All Bag Making Kit.

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I used this great tutorial to create these…but increased the dimensions by A LOT to make massive versions.

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I found a male dress form (pinnable!) at a second hand consignment shop a few months ago and was over the moon about it as I have been longing for one ever since I left behind the great mannequins available at design school.

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The mannequin didn’t have a stand…but…I mentioned my desire for a stand to my parents while they were admiring the studio and, low and behold, I now have one!  Just two days ago, my Dad dropped by with one that he made for me!

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He re-purposed the disk brake from an old vehicle, painted it with left over spray paint from another old vehicle, lathe turned a beautiful wooden base out of a scrap of wood, used a stainless pole and mount from the sailboat that he recently refitted to sail to Hawaii, and rigged up a system to fit it to the mannequin’s empty attachment point!  My dad is the best sort of Renaissance man :D.

I would be remiss to give you a studio tour without showing you my studio companion and his favourite place to hang out!

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Luki may look serene here but in reality he is quivering with excitement while neighbourhood cat-watching.

Needless to say, my timid little cat, Jasmine, does not share office hours with Luki.  Even though she can easily boss him around, she generally likes to avoid him and prefers to come to work in the evening and night (she blooms at night, just like the Jasmine flower).  She likes to help me sew by sitting on my fabric (classic).

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She loves the corner of the studio I’ve devoted to her – it is complete with a great viewpoint, a selection of feathers, and a stash of homegrown catnip.

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I hope you found this peek into the Thread Theory studio interesting!  Time for me to get back to work!

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And, just to remind any of you who missed yesterday’s post – all PDF patterns are 50% off in our shop until Monday!  Check out the largest sale of the year >